Updated: Nov 4, 2021
It's not what you achieve; it's what you overcome. That's what defines your career — Carlton Fisk.
Change is the law of life.
What triggers the change possibly defines the path. And this change could come out of simple boredom or aspiration to achieve more. As Carlton Fisk summarises it accurately, your career is not just about reaching that much-desired summit but the obstacles you crossed to get there.
If you are contemplating that change in your career, don’t let age be an added barrier. And know that you are not alone. An EdX survey found that 32% of workers between the ages of 25 and 44 considered making a career change, and 29% already had!
Are you contemplating a new career? If yes, do you have a career plan?
Changing careers could often involve transferring your existing skills and specialized experience to a different field altogether. You could be a technical specialist now choosing to write as a career. Or an investment banker deciding to become an entrepreneur. The limitations and obstacles are quite glaring, aren’t they?
You need to adapt to a whole new environment. You have to unlearn your existing skills to begin the new career path. So what you need is a career plan of action to get the ball rolling.
But, what is a career action plan?
Think of it as a road map to get you to where you need to be.
With directions to the best routes, methods, and pitstops along the way. This game plan gives you the ability to foresee and resolve any obstacle that might get in the way so that navigation is smoother.
It prepares you for the real world and reflects an increasing career development learning. It includes everything from clubs to internships to jobs that you need to pursue to achieve the career of your dreams.
How is a career action plan useful?
A realistic plan helps you grow - personally as well as professionally. Don't hesitate to veer away from the norm and gain skills to become what you believe could help you with a change.
You might want to progress in your current career, or explore a different career route where you don't have much work experience. Whichever path you take, a plan with clear objectives will make your career progression faster, more efficient and even enjoyable!
A midlife career change is easier with a career action plan. It is key to your career progression.
Let’s take a look at the steps needed to form a solid career action plan.
3 Steps To Make a Career Action Plan
1. Make a List of Possible Careers
List down possible career options that are of interest to you. Research the job market and analyse where you see building a career for yourself. Have a good idea of who you are and where you stand. At this moment, don't worry much about listing down too many options. Further research into these career options will give you more clarity on your possible career choices.
Career Action -
To help you get this started, why don't you think about networking with people in your chosen field of interest? Start a conversation with someone who's knowledgable in that career field and ask them how you can get a foothold in a new career. LinkedIn is a great place to start.
2. Narrow Down Your Career Choices
In the first step, you made a list of career options. Now you have some basic information to kick start your career transition. To get more clarity on your next steps, research further and narrow down your career choices. Think about job demand, salary, flexibility , work-life balance before you consider a career. Our aim is to get a shorter list of potential careers that you see yourself doing for the foreseeable future.
Career Action -
Research is key. Understand what works for you and what doesn't. As part of your research, connect with people on LinkedIn, and other social groups where you can meet people and ask them questions. Follow conversations and gain insight into what the day-to-day looks like in your chosen career path.
3. Set Achievable Career Goals
You're trying to figure out how to go from where you are to where you want to be. To do that, take the first step and ask yourself -
Have I defined my career goals?
What's one thing I can do today to achieve my career goal?
No matter how small the task it, it's important that you START. In this process, you will get clarity on what your goals are, and what steps you need to take in order to achieve them.
Career Action -
SMART goals are an excellent way to start: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound—goals. Understand the various stops that need to be taken on your journey to your progressive career. Take stock of your career action plan from time to time so that you do not lose sight of what you truly desire.
"Desire! That's the one secret of every man's career. Not education. Not being born with hidden talents. Desire." —Johnny Carson
Career Action Plan Tips for a midlife career change
Ensure that you have a timeline in mind, or you could end up spending too much time at what was supposed to be an intermediary stop.
Be flexible and be prepared to change plans as you go or even start over.
Stop to smell the roses. And to check on your progress. Don’t lose sight of where you are and where you ought to be.
A good way to decide your best career option is to knock off what would not work for you. It is ok to say no, even to yourself!
You might be a mid-career professional, but that should be no reason to settle down in the same career. You need an outline with instructions that would depict your path to your new career. You need a career action plan.
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